beaded jewelry

Beading, Then and Now

I was trying to clean up/out my jewelry-making area, and in the process, I came across some of my very early work in different areas.  I found some necklaces from when I first started beading; some of my initial tries at viking knit, early bead embroidery and then wire weaving.

I sat down and stared at the pieces (conveniently ignoring the piles of beading supplies I was supposed to be cleaning up) and then picked up some of my more recent examples of each jewelry style.

Wow.  Big difference.

Jewelry Upgrade

The jewelry got me to thinking about how far I had come in many of my techniques.  And when I stared at my current work, I wondered where I'd be a year from now, five years from now, etc.

The way I see it, jewelry is just as much about the journey as it is the destination (i.e., the completed piece).

Save Some Pieces of Your Jewelry!

No matter where you are at in your jewelry journey, same some of your pieces -- especially some of the first pieces in a new technique.  Put them aside to look at later, so you can see the progress you have made!

As you'll see in the following video, some of my first pieces in a new technique aren't exactly stellar.  Yours might not be either, but practice is how we learn and grow.

Then and Now Video

So, here's a video that shows some of my jewelry from when I was starting, and more recent pieces in the same technique.  You'll see the evolution of my work, and some of the items I'm just starting to learn more about.

So....hope you enjoy the video!

Bead Embroidery and Shibori Silk

Gypsy's SilkWhen I took the Shibori Bracelet class from Sherry Serafini in Feb 2013, it opened up a new world for me, bead-embroidery-wise.  I never really thought about using fabric as part of the design before, at least not this way.   So Sherry, thanks again for inspiration!

The bracelet I made during the class I ultimately christened "Gypsy's Silk" -- it's the purple bracelet on the right.  It's a wide cuff, to make full use of the silk, which was dyed in purples and greens.

I used some of the polymer clay cabs I made as part of the design, plus lots of bling-y beads like sew-on flatback Swarovski crystals, and some dichroic cabs that Sherry had for sale.

Shibori Silk BraceletOf course, these bracelets are like potato chips -- I couldn't make just one!

The next bracelet I made had a more monochromatic look, as the Shibori was in medium shades of blue.  There wasn't enough of a contrast color-wise in the silk, so I made do with pleating and crystals.

This one is much narrower than the one I made in class, but it's still an imposing bracelet.  Especially since I added a small fringe as the edging.

Aurora's JewelsSo what to do next?  I got some silk in shades of copper and pink, and it was a beautiful color shading.  I liked the silk so much that I did more pleating.  But anchoring those pleats?  That took a little more trial and error.

I used some rivolis this time, so instead of using a lot of crystals this time, I used more glass pearls.  One of my new favorites is the new 2mm glass pearls from the Czech Republic, which come in a wide variety of colors.

And yes, I've made even more, which I will show in other posts.  😀  I've used more of the Swarovski rivolis in the other bead embroidery bracelets with the silk.

You can find the Shobori silk on Etsy, which is where I got most of mine.  There are lots of different color combos.

The thing to keep in mind about the silk -- if you have rough hands or fingernails, they will snag the silk.  For the most part you can cover snags with beading, but it's sad when you snag it when you are pretty much done.  So be careful, and make sure your hands and nails are smooth.

Swarovski 1122 Light Grey Opal F 14mm Rivoli Stone
Swarovski 1122 Light Grey Opal F 14mm Rivoli Stone
$1.49
Time Remaining: 8d 4h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $1.49
Swarovski 1122 Moonlight F Various Sizes Rivoli Stone
Swarovski 1122 Moonlight F Various Sizes Rivoli Stone
$1.49
Time Remaining: 10d 5h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $1.49
Swarovski 1122 Saturn GF 14mm Vintage Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 Saturn GF 14mm Vintage Rivoli Stones
$5.85
Time Remaining: 14d 2h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $5.85
Swarovski 1122 Moonlight F Various Sizes Rivoli Stone
Swarovski 1122 Moonlight F Various Sizes Rivoli Stone
$5.35
Time Remaining: 10d 5h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $5.35
Swarovski 1122 Fireopal F 14mm Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 Fireopal F 14mm Rivoli Stones
$1.57
Time Remaining: 5d 5h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1.57
Swarovski 1122 White Patina F 14mm Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 White Patina F 14mm Rivoli Stones
$1.39
Time Remaining: 27d 10h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $1.39
Swarovski 1122 Egyptian Summer Moon F Various Sizes Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 Egyptian Summer Moon F Various Sizes Rivoli Stones
$1.75
Time Remaining: 4d 3h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $1.75
Swarovski 1122 Mystic Fire 14mm Crystal Rivoli Stone Unfoiled
Swarovski 1122 Mystic Fire 14mm Crystal Rivoli Stone Unfoiled
$1.93
Time Remaining: 4d 3h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $1.93
Swarovski 1122 Saturn GF 14mm Vintage Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 Saturn GF 14mm Vintage Rivoli Stones
$10.35
Time Remaining: 14d 2h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $10.35
Swarovski 1122 Amethyst F Various Sizes Rivoli Stones
Swarovski 1122 Amethyst F Various Sizes Rivoli Stones
$1.31
Time Remaining: 5d 39m
Buy It Now for only: $1.31

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Beaded Cabochon Jewelry Heaven

I adore the look of beaded cabochon jewelry.  I had done quite a bit of it some time ago, but things got in the way and I kept putting off and putting off getting back into it.  I mean, all you have to do is stare at Sherri Serafini's work and get intimidated (but she does absolutely gorgeous work).

I've been cleaning out my workspace, and I stumbled upon some cabs I bought, oh, I'll say 5 years ago and already glued to the backing...and that's where I stopped.

Then I found some lovely cabs I bought at a gem show maybe 4 years ago, and they have likewise been sitting around.  (I swear, sometimes I thought I could hear a faint "make me into jewelry" cry coming from that corner of my office...)

And let's not discuss all the dichroic cabs I bought maybe 3 years ago....

Are you sensing a pattern here?  🙂

Back to Beaded Cabochons

Beaded Cabochon (Seashell)

I figured it was time that I actually do something.  So I've been beading up a storm!

Remember the seashells I gathered a couple months ago?  Well I've been going wild with them -- they are so much fun!  To the right is a necklace I made with one of the seashells.

(I've got a few more glued to backing, waiting their turn as well.)

Got a hot pink agate cab that I am working on, but am waiting for some more supplies to come in so I can finish it (I'll post a photo when I am done).

Naturally, one of the dichroic cabs is being worked on, while I am waiting on the supplies for the pink one.

Can-Can Cabochon

And here's another, done up in turquoise color.  I'm thinking the cab is howlite (dyed), but who knows what the bead nuggets are; all I know is that for the price I paid, they are definitely not geniune turquoise!

If you're interested, I've got an ebook tutorial for making these necklaces.  Want more?  I've got a tutorial for an intro bead embroidery components.

Cabs, Cabs and More Cabs

One of my favorite cabs I have ever bought, an ocean jasper, broke in my hands.  I got that one at a gem show, and I should have known to not get one that thin.  I still have some ideas for it, though, since it's so pretty!

And I have ordered more cabs from ebay, as I have an idea for a beaded cab bracelet (among other things).  When all of those cabs get in, I'll take some photos for you to see.

Well, guess I should quit writing and go get beading!  Catch you later with more photos.

(Now it's later and I have some more photos of my bead embroidery; click for larger photos.)

 

Viking Knit Chain Photos

I know it's been longer than I had planned, to get you these viking knit chain photos, but I've finally had a chance to sit down and catalog what I had, and what you might like to see.

Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

First off, I've been making mostly bracelets, along with some necklaces.  So far, no earrings (that's my next project).   This first bracelet looks rather plain at first glance.  But when you hold it in your  hand, it looks like copper lace.  And it's nice and light and oh-so-comfortable.

Next is a bracelet I decided a little more color.  So, I've incorporated seed and lampwork beads in this particular piece of jewelry.

Beaded Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

Beaded Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

I had a whole lot of fun with it.  Of course, I had to include some of my own lampwork beads while I was at it.  I've gotten lots of compliments on it, how it looks like the seed beads have been woven into a net.

(BTW, I have included instructions for a similar bracelet in my Intro to Viking Knit tutorial.)

OK, what next?  Hmmm, time for a necklace perhaps?

This particular necklace uses viking knit as the background, with the wire-wrapped pendant as the focal.

Viking Knit Necklace and Pendant

Viking Knit Necklace and Pendant

I have a blast doing these free-form pendants!  I've always had a problem with them though; they are substantial in size and need a chain that is equally substantial.  And viking knit fits in nicely!

But a viking knit chain doesn't need to be relegated to just the background, not at all!

Although viking knit can be a necklace all by itself, it can be equally intriguing when different gauges and styles of viking knit chain are incorporated in the same piece.

I have a work in progress there I've mixed 24 gauge single knit and 26 gauge double knit -- looks kind of cool so far!

So far I've used copper, artistic wire, brass and also am working in silver.  I have some gold-filled wire, but I haven't decided what to do with it yet (seeing as it's so very expensive these days).  I'm sure sooner or later an idea will come to me and I'll dig into my stash of gold-filled.

Viking Knit Bracelet -- Flight of the Bumblebee

Viking Knit Bracelet -- Flight of the Bumblebee

Here's something that I call "Flight of the Bumblebee" which turned out very interesting indeed!  You see, when I grabbed my wire, both the brass and the black wire were supposed to be 26 gauge.  That being the case, I figured I'd do some double-knit.

Well, if the brass was 26 gauge, I'll buy and eat a hat!  So my brass portions are thicker than the black (which really was 26 gauge).  At any rate, it's a cool look and it feels really neat!

In fact, I may dig into my small stash of gold-filled wire and do a mix of it with sterling silver.  Hmmmm......

That's it for the moment; more later!